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Which lift is best for me? A guide to vehicle lifts

We at Equipment4garages hear this question many times each week.
There is no right answer to this question but if we go through the pros and cons for each lift type we supply - 1 Post, 2 Post, 4 Post and Scissor Lifts.

From that information you should be able to come to the best buying decision for you.

Vehile lifts also referred to as automotive lifts or car lifts are one of the most useful tools the keen home mechanic can have for repair or maintenance, as much of the work to be done on a modern car is from underneath the car. They do make life easy whether it's to work on the brakes or the engine/transmission and it sure does beat sliding under a jacked up car. 

"Working safely under motor vehicles being repaired" is a Health and Safety Executive Leaflet that can be downloaded as a PDF from

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg434.pdf

This leaflet is aimed at owners, managers and supervisors of motor vehicle repair facilities - it may also be useful to employees. It contains excerpts from accident reports illustrating the risks involved in working under vehicles in motor repair, which can prove fatal. Contents: Among other things, there is advice on using the correct equipment, making sure it's installed correctly, maintenance, training, checking equipment and roadside working

Will a lift fit into my garage?

Professional shops know what type of lift works best for them. They may well have both 2 Post & 4 Post types in their service bays but the small car repairer or home motor mechanic usually only has room for one lift in his garage or workshop.

It is important when you are thinking about installing any car lift that you have space not just for the lift but for a space around the lift where you can safely work on the vehicle and freely move around the raised lift. This means that in best health and safety practice you should allow at least 2.foot (60cm) from any wall or obstruction around the lift.

Don't forget to measure the height of your workshop or garage to make sure the lowest part of the roof under the lift will not impede the lifting height of the lift with a vehicle on board.

Installation

Lifts should be installed on a sturdy level concrete base at least 6" thick and it's into this base that the retaining bolts can be screwed. Your barn may have all the height you need to take a lift but a cow flattened mud floor will not take the bolts for a 2 post lift and will not be level..

You should not install your lift near the edge of the concrete base or within 3 feet of any cracks or seams in the base to ensure stability of the lift.

We can't do the ground work but we can arrange for any lift to be delivered and installed on a suitable floor. It usually takes two men all day to complete an installation but you will need to have a qualified electrician on site to sort out the electricity supply.

PLEASE NOTE:  

We will ask you to sign a disclaimer if we fit your lift confirming that the floor base is suitable for the fitting of a two post lift as per the installation guide-lines above.

 

Self Installation

You can do the installation yourself as all the bolts and instructions are supplied but remember lifts are very heavy and you will need two, three or four people to help you - don't try and do it alone.

The Garage Equipment Association guide lines for lift installation, which we reccommend should be followed, are shown below:

GEA - A Customer guide to thorough examination following Installation of a Vehicle Lift 
 
What does the law state: 
1. Regulation 9 (2) of LOLER states: 
“Every employer shall ensure that, where the safety of lifting equipment depends on the installation conditions, it is thoroughly examined 
(a) after installation and before being put into service for the first time; and 
(b) after assembly and before being put into service at a new site or in a new location, to ensure that it has been installed correctly and is safe to use”. 
2. This is re-enforced by BS7980:2012, Vehicle Lifts – Installation, maintenance, thorough examination and safe use – Code of Practice, which states: 
 4.4 Thorough examination after installation 
Regulation 9 of LOLER [2] requires that vehicle lifts are thoroughly examined by a competent person after installation and before being put into use. A report of the thorough examination should be provided confirming whether the list has been installed correctly and is safe to use. 
A load test should be carried out as part of the thorough examination to check for faults with the installation or the floor. Load tests should be carried out using the manufacturer’s rated maximum capacity of the lift. The test loads should result in an even loading of the lifting elements and be of proven accuracy to within ± 1.0%. If test loads are proven on a weighbridge, the weighbridge should have been calibrated within the previous 12 months. 
A further source of information: www.hse.gov.uk 
Summary: 
1. A thorough examination is required following installation and before first use 
2. The employer is responsible for ensuring the thorough examination takes place 
How can I organise: 
1. You can organise yourself by selecting an appropriately qualified “competent person” to carry it out. A list of companies can be found on the GEA website at www.gea.co.uk
 
 

We cannot accept any liability whatsoever for any personal injury caused or damage to equipment because of the result of you fitting a lift supplied by us. The supply of 2 Post Lifts is made with the expectation that they will be fitted only by a fully competent engineer in accordance to the manufacturer's instructions. 

 

Single or three phase electric supply?

All electrical installations must be carried out by a fully qualified electrician - It's the LAW.

It's the LAW:

Leave all electrical installation and connection work to a fully qualified electrician.

An incorrect supply connection may cause damage to the electric motor.   

Attempting repairs yourself is extremely dangerous, with the potential for serious injury and even death.

 

Domestic premises usually only have a 230v single phase supply and you would need to have an independent spur taken from your fuse box of 30 amps - like an electric oven - direct to your lift.

Commercial workshops may have a 415v three phase supply from which an electrician would be able to supply power to your lift. It is therefore very important to state when you order your lift if you require a single or three phase motor, as most of our lifts can be supplied in either single or three phase.

Compressed Air Supply

Compressed Air Supply - some lifts may also need a compressed air supply to work the safety locks. You can also use this air supply to safely power tools when working under and around a vehicle. Normally an air supply is required by our 4 Post Lifts and some scissor lifts.

2 Post lifts

For more information visit our 2 post lifts page where you can get a general idea of what to use this type of lift for. You can also buy 2 post lifts which have a bar over the top which contains a safety stop so you cannot lift the vehicle through the roof. This style of lift also gives you a clear floor area between the posts.

"Risk of vehicles falling off two-post vehicle lifts in motor vehicle repair" is a Health and Safety Executive report which you can access by clicking the link below.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/sims/manuf/3_10_02.htm

It alerts Enforcing Authorities to the risks of vehicles falling from 2-post lifts in motor vehicle repair facilities and outlines the key safeguards to safe operation. It explains action that has already been taken by the industry and some emerging issues that visiting staff may wish to be aware of.

4 post lifts

Different rules apply for 4 post lifts depending on the size and requirements of your garage. See more information on our 4 post lifts page.

Scissor lifts

Scissor lifts tend to be smaller and easier to move around even going outside if the weather permits.
Some allow you to either lift by the wheels as per a 4 post lift or leave the wheels dangling like a 2 post lift perfect for working on wheels and brakes. Again you have no posts in the way of doors ideal for bodywork repairs.

These lifts lie flat on the garage floor when not in use and the low profile allows you to park your vehicle over them when not being used.
You should be aware that because the lifting mechanism of some scissor lifts are under the lift you cannot stand directly beneath the vehicle when it's raised, but they are a popular choice and should be considered.

Maintenance

To keep your lift in a good condition you will need to check the rubber pads, wire-ropes, cylinders and pistons at regular intervals and keep all moving parts lubricated. It is good workshop practice to keep the lift area free from any debris which may find its way into the lift mechanism.

We can supply spares for the lifts we stock, plus we hold a wide range of replacement rubber pads to fit most lifts.

Expert advice

Remember expert advice on all our products is only a phone call away.

For an answer to your product or delivery queries you just have to
speak to Richard on: 01727 875695
or email him at:
info@equipment4garages.com

 

 

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